Mumbai girl, Merryl D’Souza fulfilled a long-held dream of riding solo across India from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. She negotiated 6,886 km of uncharted, and mostly, inhospitable terrain. Looking at some of her favourite snapshots from the ride
From Kanyakumari to Kashmir
Merryl D’Souza at Lachungla Pass, the second highest pass (at an altitude of 5,065 m) on the Manali-Leh Highway.
Starting point: A view from Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, where she started her journey. pics courtesy/ Merryl D’Souza
Chang La Pass: Kashmir To Kanyakumari, India is One — a signboard at Chang La Pass, a 5350 m high mountain pass in Ladakh. The road to the pass is steep and demands careful driving
Across the tropic of cancer: Stopover at a point where the Tropic of Cancer passes through Gujarat. D’Souza recalls the state’s roads were some of the best she rode on her journey
Army detour: Pakistani militants were captured at Udhampur leading to blockades. She stopped by this Army café on the Srinagar-Leh Highway, taking a 40 km detour to reach there as per plan
Shaky roads, beautiful SKies: A landslide near Pang caused nearly 2 kms of the road to be swept away. She had to take an 80 km detour. Despite the bumpy ride, the natural beauty bowled her over
Age is no limit: On her ride from Leh to Manali, she met a group of bikers aged 50 to 75, as well as two women Bullet bikers
A spy-sea ride A cheeky signboard that D’Souza spotted during her ride on Karnataka’s highways
That on-top-of-the-world feeling!
“I passed the highest motorable road in the world, Khardungla, during my week-long stay in Leh. This was a special stop also because I had been carrying an Indian National Flag that was gifted to me by a group of autorickshaw drivers at Santakatte stand in my hometown, Mangalore, Karnataka.
During an overnight stay at Dandeli, Karnataka, it was torn by a few kids; only the green part of the flag was untouched. When I reached Khardungla, I tied the flag on this sign board,” recalls 29-year-old D’Souza.